The Clam’s Tournament of Shitty Parking Lots: Day 3

We’re back for another day of our tournament to crown the shittiest parking lot in Gloucester! Day 1 and Day 2 are still open for voting, so cast that shit before it’s too late.  Today we pit school vs school and restaurant vs restaurant. WHO WILL WIN? WHO WILL BE CRUSHED LIKE A BUG? Let’s find out.



Pathways for Children vs East Gloucester School

Pathways for Children

Pathways for Children is amazing. I’ll just get that right out of the way. They are a dedicated bunch of people doing great things for our kids. The parking lot, however, is a freakin’ zoo. It’s so bad, they need a retired police officer to direct traffic every morning. It’s chaos. There are not nearly enough spaces dedicated to pick up and drop off, so you’re forced to walk really far in sleet, hail, whatever, with multiple kids, while the person who got there at 6 am and didn’t move all day parked right next to the door. Awesome.

This lot also boasts key features such as intensely small spots to ensure maximum door dentage, people who live-park where buses go, and people who live-park where handicapped spaces are.  And the PACE workers who control a small subset of the parking lot will literally fucking cut you if you even pull into one of their spaces for two seconds to unload a parent and child and continue on to circle. Last year sometime, a woman working at PACE leaned out the window and yelled to me that I was beneath her and stupid for doing this – because I’m poor, I can’t read apparently (I have a fucking business degree). There were six other empty PACE spaces next to me, by the way.

East Gloucester School (I made Jim Dowd cover this one)

Remember the movie 300? Remember how the Spartans broke the backs of the invading Persians by funneling them into the ‘hot gates’ of Thermopylae, a geological feature rendering their superior numbers meaningless against the defending Greeks? Remember how awesome those dudes abs were? EGS is like that, but replace “Persians” with “anyone trying to get the fuck in there” and “abs” with “not abs”. But the principle remains the same. Everything funnels all at once into a singular narrow gap and there is no getting back out: busses, cars, ill-timed delivery trucks, and giant bejeweled glistening bald men on slave-borne parade floats are all stranded at one end while the relentless waves of humanity crash against its walls.  At least Leonidas and his men got to die. EGS has to do it every day. Additional note: EGS is home to the world’s only curved crosswalk. Take that, sanity!

[polldaddy poll=8133417]

Causeway vs Destino’s


The Causeway lot is maddening solely due to the restaurant’s popularity. While I’m happy that they do well and serve the largest plates of pasta and seafood known to man or beast, this means that the limited parking they have to offer is not enough to quench the hungry parking hordes. People park their cars on top of other, weaker cars. It’s like parking at the mall on Christmas Eve, but busier. If you wanted to just run into the liquor store, it was a teeth-gritting experience. I once toyed with the idea of getting takeout from there, until a more level-headed person talked me down from that ledge. Getting in and out of the lot means trying to back up at 1mph into traffic coming downhill at roughly 95 mph.


What sets Destino’s apart from the competition, aside from having a never-ending macaroni salad bar (and BY GOD is it delicious and addictive), is their decision to leave their small parking lot without any real distinct parking lines. Up is down! Down is up! I could park diagonally in the center of the lot and not be in the wrong! This means nothing but drama and confusion, because who knows who was the first person to park like butt and leave a gap of .7 cars between theirs and the next, but it’s the song that never ends. It’s probably been a chain reaction of not parking right that spans back to 1964. Getting in and out of the lot is also heart-pounding – try not to back into the HVAC unit of the apartments behind it, and then turn left onto Prospect. I sense a theme where the crappiest lots involve pulling out of parking spaces into traffic that’s going way too fucking fast.

[polldaddy poll=8133688]

The Clam’s Tournament of Shitty Parking Lots: Day 2

If you missed yesterday’s post, we here at the Clam have come up with a tournament that pits the worst parking lots in town against each other, bracket-style, until only one crappy parking lot remains. Some are public, some are private, all are like pulling teeth. Which will win? Your vote counts in the Clam’s Tournament of Shitty Parking Lots.


Railroad Ave Shaws vs. Tedeschi’s

Railroad Ave Shaws

This parking lot is near and dear to my heart, being located about 75 feet from my house. I consider myself lucky that I merely walk through it, which is painful enough – driving is even worse. It’s one-way, but apparently no one got the memo.  A few years ago, they re-did the whole thing and made the entrances and exits even more illogical. Now there’s a wide enough spot at the old exit where cars occasionally still try to escape, even though it’s now only for pedestrians and has a giant god-danged sign. Add in random pill dealers, fights, and commuter rail traffic, and it’s a real humdinger of a lot.


The Tedeschi’s plaza on lower Washington is a veritable incubator for depression and/or road rage. Only one person can back out at once, and the person whose turn it is is probably fervently scratching lotto tickets while their reverse lights are on, completely blind to the world around them. It’s also occasionally a weird hangout for people with dumb stereo systems on weekend nights, and has the notoriety of being where Ray Borque’s daughter got bagged for a late-night Tuesday DUI a few years ago. Try to find a parking space when Midori is hopping, and you’ll wish you stayed home and crushed your hand in a pepper mill instead.

[polldaddy poll=8131032]

Dogbar Public Lot vs Pleasant and Middle Public Lot

Dogbar Public Lot

The tiny lot in front of Dogbar’s main entrance off Rogers is the type of lot where you wonder why it even bothers existing. It has like three spaces, and if you’ve made the egregious mistake to even pull into the lot, it’s so small that you have to freakin’ back up onto Rogers St, and everyone in the street will try to end you with their angry honking. Also, you’ll scrape your trailer hitch or bottom out your car trying to get in and out. Unlike the rest of the lots here, I have never actually even successfully been able to park in this lot. I give up and go to the GloHo lot, which is 50 feet away and doesn’t want to rip my oil pan from me.

Pleasant and Middle Public Lot

Why is this lot always one-way in the exact wrong direction, no matter which way you’re headed? I am pretty sure someone just changes the signs every fortnight to fuck with us.

The spaces aren’t angled, so it makes zero sense that there’s even specific ways to go, aside from reducing confusion, I guess? In this lot, you’re always left with the space directly adjacent to the 8-inch-tall granite retainers, which eventually you’ll forget about and while backing up, take a chunk out of the stupid tires you just bought last month for your stupid minivan.

And it’s a lot where you have to go over to the pay machine, put in quarters, get the stupid little piece of paper, go back to your damn car, and put the stupid piece of paper on the dashboard with the 50 other stupid pieces of paper you keep forgetting to clean up. This isn’t that bad, except that usually I have two kids who WANT TO GO TO THE YMCA RIGHT NOW COME ONNN WHY AREN’T WE GOING ALSO EVAN LOST HIS SHOE.

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The Clam Presents: Tournament of Shitty Parking Lots

Parking: What the FUCK?

Our editorial staff here at The Clam have logged a few intricacies in the parking lots in our combined 31 years living here in town.  Parking here has all too often become a contact sport. And the lots we park in play a huge part in whether we escape undented or simply needing a new rear quarter panel.

As a public service, The Clam will be striving to discover the most treacherous parking lots on our fair island. With your help we may save someone from that dreaded call to Geico.

Some of our local lots are great – they make sense, they’re spacious, people are polite. Some are horrifying, dent-attracting circles of hell. We have decided to pit lot against lot, tournament style, until we come up with the absolute worst lot in town. Help us decide the worst parking lot in town! Our first four parking lots will be up for vote today.



First Round: Second Glance vs St. Peter’s Square

Second Glance

Second Glance’s Pond Road location is an interesting parking lot. Eschewing the modern philosophy of “have more than one entrance and exit,” Second Glance and the assorted other businesses (Karate school?) have chosen the simple “everyone goes in and out in the same 8 foot space” method. Also, the paint lining the spaces has long vanished. The lot shrinks in random unexpected parts, making you feel like you’re viewing an M.C. Escher painting. And there’s always a Prius idling in exactly the wrong spot.

St. Peter’s Square

St. Peter’s Square is occasionally a nice, easy lot to park in. Like, on a Wednesday at 4 AM. Other times, it’s a cut-throat adventure in bitter desperation. On weekend nights, the lot looks like all cars were valet parked by a man high on Angel Dust. Cars block in other cars, park in the corridors, and generally go wherever there is a 10×5 block of brick to park on.

[polldaddy poll=8128693]

7/11 Maplewood Ave vs 7/11 Bass Ave

7/11 Maplewood Ave

My god, this lot. Not content to only be known as the most drug-infested spot in town, the lot is also a logistical nightmare. There’s a drive-through on one side, several spaces in the middle, and then a crapload of broken-down monster trucks and a carwash on the other. In the middle is a shuffling man on painkillers yelling at traffic. Cars back up at warp speed, not caring what’s behind them. It’s a disaster.

7/11 Bass Ave

The other, less painkiller-related 7/11 is still a logistical nightmare. “Let’s make one single line of parking that involves backing into the worst of beach traffic!” Said some asshole. As an occasional morning backshore cyclist, it’s terrifying to ride by this lot – cars are forced to back up the split-second they have an available millisecond, and they aren’t looking for you in their fear-based driving decision.

[polldaddy poll=8128695]


Barcade is Coming, Let Us Rejoice!

If you’re an ardent hipster like myself, (or a gaming nerd of any kind) you will be most pleased to know that this upcoming Friday, June 20, BARCADE IS COMING TO THE BREWERY FOR EXACTLY ONE EVENING.

For those not familiar with Barcade, it’s exactly what it sounds like. A craft beer bar with arcade games. All the sweet, awesome, unrepentant hedonism of Funspot with more booze and no screaming, over-tired children demanding one more token to go on the animal bumper cars.

Way better than Chuck E Cheese.

Way better than Chuck E Cheese.

The original Barcade location in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is pretty great (aside from being in Williamsburg). We went a few months back and dumped at least 20 quarters into Bad Dudes. Enough to beat the game. Enough to get my initials on the high score screen. Except that when I went to add “POO” to the winner’s list, I accidentally exited instead. It has been my regret. My Rosebud. I want to avenge this in the worst way. I thirst for it.

Since Barcade is an awesome concept, it’s been spreading – they’ve opened other locations in Manhattan (which I believe I stumbled into while drunk but memories are fuzzy), Jersey City, and Philly.

I’m not sure exactly what games will be appearing at Friday’s Barcade Brewery Takeover aside from the article’s mention of Tapper, NBA Jam, and Ms. Pacman (AWW YISS), but according to the Brewery’s website, there will be ten games trucked in for the evening. I shall play all ten, unless a burping vortex of bros shows up and Bogarts all of them.



It’s important to mention that this is the first time Barcade has had a Brewery Takeover, and we got it first. That’s correct, for you following along at home: Gloucester, MA is weird and hipster enough for this to happen here. Not Salem, not Somerville, not Cambridge, not even Portland, but GLOUCESTER.



We’re getting on the map for Hipfrastructure. Jim warned us, people.  It’s not like we didn’t know this would happen. We have freakin’ Mystery Train, which is pretty much the most hipster thing to ever hipster in this wild fish frontier, and people routinely come from all around Eastern Mass for it.

But again, I’m a fervent, unrepentant hipster. I don’t mind being called a hipster. I collect vintage beerware, own a rainbow of Chuck Taylors that have been previously worn by other people I don’t know, I have a tattoo with birds on it, and I don’t automatically punch myself in the face for being so unbelievably twee. I own my hipsterism, and for that reason, I say: HUZZAH, AND LET THE GLOUCESTER BARCADING COMMENCE.

No Snark Sunday- I am all your father: introducing the Jerdervader

One of our least favorite pieces of social science bullshit posing as evolutionary insight is the idea that men are ‘programmed’ to propagate themselves as widely as possible with little regard to consequences. That’s like suggesting that one bird who lays its eggs in other birds’ nests is a trait of all birds, rather than the fact that most birds nurture their young enabling parasitic behavior from a very small subset of the species. In humans, most dads work hard, struggle daily to do the right thing and delight in little more than watching their kids thrive.

But there is another class of dad- and Gloucester is full of these guys. In German one might call them the “Jerdervader” or “Everydad”, and one can see why the Deutch is better here because “jerdervader” sounds effing boss.

Darth Vader dad comics? Well played, cartoon man!

Darth Vader dad comics? Well played, cartoon man!

This dad is not just good to his own kids, ensuring that his DNA load gets carried down the genetic line. No, he’s good to ALL kids. This is the guy who coaches. The guy who volunteers at the school. The guy who makes sure the kid across the street without a dad gets to play, gets a funny nickname, learns how a chop-saw works and what happens when you put soap in the microwave. He’s on boards, he goes to meetings, writes letters and makes calls.

Maybe because in Gloucester so many dads went to sea for months on end leaving the “dad” job more as a community endeavor (We can do dubious social hypotheses too!). Since some of those dads never came home, perhaps community fathering is somewhat more normalized here than it would be in a suburban environment. Who knows?

All we can say is that there are jerdervader überall in Gloucester. We’re going to not name names, but the list of dudes is staggering. And the roles are like sacred trusts. You find yourself sweating- “Damm, I have to take over lights for school plays from Steve when his youngest heads off to O’Maley. I’d better get my shit together…” The handoff is like an Inuit elder giving his harpoon to a young hunter before wandering off to the ice floe. Voices get deeper, there are profound thanks, handshakes, hugs.

If you have any questions, text me

If you have any questions, text me

And we guarantee you’ll see Steve wander in randomly when the play is being set up, just to check things out and make sure you have his cell number. Sacred. These trusts are sacred.

There are tons of those guys. Guys who don’t even have kids in the system anymore who are still rocking major roles behind the scenes for no money and at huge expenditure of time and headache. We said we would resist giving names but we were wrong because you can’t discuss dads going above the call without actually pointing out Russell Freaking Hobbs the übermench of jerdervader who runs the massive prop and scenery machine at O’Maley without having a kid in the system in years. We walk in this man’s shadow.

Russell, we need this to be a steampunk space orphanage candy factory. Get on that.

Russell, we need this to be a steampunk space orphanage candy factory. Get on that.

So a hearty paternal clam shout-out to the guys who take it to the next level. Gloucester owes you a great debt. If you see one of these guys, buy ’em a beer, give way to them at the Basket or at the very least let them park their overloaded trucks full of soccer balls, fake tree props and spare life jackets in the loading zone.

And there should totally be a JerderVader t-shirt.